Following a research program of more than 10 years (FAPESP 2011-50339-9; FAPESP 2013-14799-0; FAPESP 2015-051339), this project aims to evaluate, from a bioarchaeological perspective, the relationship between processes of social complexity and phenomena of biological changes in human populations settled on the North-Central coast of Central Andes between 3400-1500 BC, in a region known as "the crucible of Andean Civilization". The knowledge of Neolithic processes in the Civilization Centers of the ancient world is one of the most important issues of the global archaeology. The Andean Civilization has its antecedents in coastal populations with impressive signals of monumentality, as an expression of territoriality and sedentism, dating from the third millennium BC. Hypothetically based on marine subsistence, these societies would have developed complex systems of sociopolitical organization that led to States and Empires. However, new discoveries suggest that an early agriculture would have based this process. At this moment, these hypotheses are difficult to test due to the lack of bioarchaeological studies. Changes in daily life, diet and interpersonal relations would have produced biological effects, still little known, on those individuals. To extend the discussion about the adaptations of populations in "incipient complexity stage", this Project aims to determine the "biological costs" of the phenomena associated with social complexity and define, from diachronic and regional point of view, the most determinant factors in this trajectory. Throughout a multidisciplinary approach, the present Project proposes the study of the bioarchaeological category "life style" in individuals recovered from the archaeological site Caral, "the oldest city of the Americas" (2900-1600 BC), and other settlements from Supe valley, North-Central Coast of Peru, dated between the third and first millennium BC. The Project includes three research fronts: 1) morphological analyses (bioanthropologic analysis, paleopathologic analysis, oral pathology analysis, morphologic-biodistance analysis), 2) archaeometric analyses (14C AMS datings of funerary contexts, stable isotopes analysis to reconstruction of diet and mobility patterns, botanical micro-remains from dental calculus analysis, paleogenetics-ancient DNA analysis); and 3) prospection of new funerary contexts. Because it is one of the most important archeological sites of the world, the bioarchaeology of Caral and Supe valley is a very promissory research avenue and should provide important perspectives regarding the regional complexity process, and significant institutional visibility.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: